The 13th (and final) Sookie Stackhouse novel from the Anthony Award-winning Southern Vampire series – and the basis for the HBO series True Blood.
There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart….
Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.
Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…
Sigh, I was really hoping that Dead Ever After – the latest and final Sookie Stackhouse book – would be one of the good ones. While there’s been several clunkers in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, there have also been books that I really loved and consider favorites. I have really enjoyed the world that Charlaine Harris’ conjured up, and ended up loving many of her characters, so it really sucks for me to report that this last book – SUCKS. Badly. Way to go out with a whimper.
The writing was terrible (!) – the main mystery plot made no sense to me (and the subplots were all a mess too), the dialogue was clunky and unnatural, there were really egregious continuity errors (i.e. Sookie suddenly can’t read shifters’ minds – so what has she been doing all these previous 12 books? guessing what the shifters were thinking?), and none of the characters were acting like themselves (starting with Sookie herself). Based on this book, looks like Charlaine Harris is super-burned out, was dying to end the series, and just couldn’t care less. This reads like a really early draft that should never have been published as is. Shame on everyone involved.
I’m not even going to complain about the guy Sookie ended up with – I wasn’t really surprised since there wasn’t anyone left for her to jump in the sack with (although I was surprised with the speed at which she switched guys). To be honest, I didn’t really give a damn anymore in the end. Sorry.
Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris is available on Amazon.
Jonathan Kellerman’s “psychology skills and dark imagination are a potent literary mix” (Los Angeles Times), and this intensely thrilling blend has never been so powerful as in the acclaimed author’s new novel of murder and madness among the beautiful dreamers, seductive predators, and doomed innocents adrift in the glare of Southern California’s eternal sunshine.
A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale L.A. neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant’s body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Helping LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor’s vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case—and draw out the disturbing truth.
Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation — all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface — a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacrifice.
Before their work is done, Alex and Milo, “the most original whodunit duo since Watson and Holmes” (Forbes), must confront a fanatically deranged mind of such monstrous cunning that even the most depraved madman would shudder.
It’s 2013, and for Jonathan Kellerman fans like me – the new year means that Mr Kellerman will have a new book out. It’s like clockwork with him. And it didn’t take him long too – Guilt, which is book #28 in Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series, was released just this February, and I wasted no time in getting myself a copy
In Guilt, Alex and Milo are initially called in for a super cold case – the decades-old remains of an infant is found accidentally during a backyard renovation. But things do come in three’s, don’t they, and two more bodies – a woman and another set of infant bones – are discovered in a nearby park. Are the two cases somehow connected? Alex and Milo dig into both the past and the present, and end up entangling with Hollywood (including a pair of Jolie/Pitt-esque suspects).
I finished this one pretty quickly (in two days flat) and as a long time fan of the series, I was okay with it (except for the bland ending). It’s not the best I’ve read from Mr Kellerman, but definitely not one of the bad ones (i.e. Deception). Warning to fans who really prefer the earlier Alex Delaware books, the latest one is still more of a police procedural than a psychological thriller, so skip it if you feel really strongly about it. And my problem with the ending? It lacked suspense and danger (Very Important for crime thrillers), and involved characters I was meeting for the first time. Ergo, a distinct lack of emotional punch for such a horrible crime (baby-killer).
I did appreciate that Mr Kellerman seems to be trying to bring back the psychology aspect, even if in a peripheral or subplot way like it is in Guilt. (The previous book Victims had Alex Delaware’s psychology skills more front and center.) I personally prefer Alex when he is contributing more as a expert psychologist (like in the early books, especially when he’s working with children) instead of just being Lt. Milo Sturgis’ sounding board &/or driver &/or Google-surfing police sidekick.
Another thing I liked with Guilt was that Alex Delaware was (finally!) humbled by being very wrong about many of his conclusions. That sounds odd, I know, but I was getting fed up with how ‘Mary-Sue’ the character was, as this super-sleuth who was always right, while there seemed to be a dumbing down of Milo. I mean there was an actual scene in the book where Milo’s boss tells Alex that he’s the better detective (?! – I was very offended on Milo’s behalf).
Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal follows the story of outcast high school senior Carson Phillips who blackmails the most popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker.
At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightning unearths the dirt that lies just below the surface of high school.
The film Struck By Lightning features Colfer’s own original screenplay. Colfer also stars in the film alongside Allison Janney, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland, and Polly Bergen.
I haven’t watched the film Struck By Lightning yet, but after reading the book version of Struck By Lightning, I’m definitely planning on renting it. What can I say, I liked the dark, sarcastic humor and I even liked the antihero antisocial main character of Carson Phillips.
This is a kid who has only this to say when his dad abandons the family and his mom breaks down in the front yard:
“Thank God for the sprinklers; otherwise she might have been out there all night.”
Yeah, that was cold, but it told me right out the bat what to expect from the character. Carson is like that cartoon character who had a rain cloud following him around. So, fair warning, this is not a happy book (even though it is funny). Carson is one sad, lonely, bitter kid, and it doesn’t end well for him. (I don’t think that’s a spoiler, since the movie’s trailer pretty much gave the ending away.)
To be honest, I was very surprised by how much I ended up liking the book (given how I couldn’t go through even just the first three chapters of Chris Colfer’s debut effort The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell). That one was pretty terrible, and really disappointed me.
This time around, I started reading the first chapter of Struck By Lightning and thought – hmmm… surprise, surprise… this is pretty good… I don’t hate the character… the writing is far from the stilted and awkward I was expecting… I’m actually laughing at the right places… In short, I plowed through the book in one go and then promptly recommended it to a friend of mine.
The book is far from perfect, mind you – Colfer has a tendency to ‘tell us’ readers what happens instead of just ‘showing us’. Also, the secondary characters were treated pretty superficially (I wanted to know more about Carson’s only maybe-friend Malerie Baggs, for example) and the middle part of the book when Carson has a breakdown of sorts and ended up blackmailing people felt really rushed to me.
Overall though, Struck By Lightning is a book that I can comfortably recommend and not just to Colfer’s GLEE fans. If you like a bit of twisted, dark humor in your books, and you don’t mind revisiting the horrors of high-school, be sure to give this one a chance. Read a sample and see if it resonates with you too!
Note: Unlike Colfer’s first book, this one isn’t for kids. There’s some strong language in the book and there’s sex (not graphic).
One mistake changes everything…
In the middle of a rainy Swedish summer, a little girl is abducted from a crowded train. Despite hundreds of potential witnesses, no one noticed when the girl was taken. Her distraught mother was left behind at the previous station in what seemed to be a coincidence. The train crew was alerted and kept a watchful eye on the sleeping child. But when the train pulled into Stockholm Central Station, the little girl had vanished.
Inspector Alex Recht and his special team of federal investigators, assisted by the investigative analyst Fredrika Bergman, are assigned to what at first appears to be a classic custody fight. But when the child is found dead in the far north of Sweden with the word “unwanted” scribbled on her forehead, the case soon turns into the investigation team’s worst nightmare — the pursuit of a brilliant and ruthless killer.
“Expect Ohlsson to join Nesbo on most readers’ can’t-miss lists.” –Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Kristina Ohlsson is a counterterrorism officer in Europe and has worked as a security police analyst for the National Swedish Police Board.
I wanted to try out other Scandinavian mystery writers, so I picked up Unwanted by Kristina Ohlsson (together with the sequel Silenced). This police procedural got starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist, so I was really looking forward to reading it although I did have my apprehensions since the victims here are all children (not my favorite topic).
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to say I’m pretty disappointed with this one. Hopefully, the next book will be better (since I already bought it!)
I figured out pretty early on what all the victims and their mothers had in common, so I was just waiting for the investigators to get around to it in the end (while wondering what was so supposedly legendary about the chief Investigator Alex Recht). Which you have to admit is pretty boring (when reading a crime thriller).
I did like that they finally figured out the killer in the end just using good old-fashioned police work. It didn’t make for much excitement, but it did ring as realistic to me. Which is more than I can say about the characters.
Because, really, my main problem with Unwanted was with the poor characterization – I didn’t like any of the investigators! I thought they were so flat & one-dimensional, and just didn’t seem like real adult people to me at all. They acted like they were emotionally aged thirteen or something like that. It was so weird – maybe it was a translation problem?
In the Tall Grass begins with a sister and brother who pull off to the side of the road after hearing a young boy crying for help from beyond the tall grass.
Within minutes they are disoriented, in deeper than seems possible, and they’ve lost one another. The boy’s cries are more and more desperate.
What follows is a terrifying, entertaining, and masterfully told tale, as only Stephen King and Joe Hill can deliver.
In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) is a new short story by horror legend Stephen King and his son Joe Hill that should carry a warning – DON’T read on full stomach! (I read it after a pleasant lunch of grilled chicken sandwich, and was so sick to my stomach when I got to the end of the story. I was just thankful I hadn’t been eating sardines….)
What can I say about this Kindle single? Well, I definitely don’t see myself reading it again. It starts out great – super creepy – when the brother and sister first hear a kid’s cries for help coming from the field of grass, and they set of in pursuit. Cal and Becky were really likable characters, and I was all tied up in knots worrying about them. And the suspense just ratcheted up the longer they were stuck in the grass looking for the kid (And then each other).
But then, the story suddenly changed direction – I won’t give spoilers – but that’s when I ended up way more grossed out than scared. Pity – I really enjoyed reading it before things turned disgusting.
But then, maybe if you like that type of horror – you’ll probably like this way more than me?
In the Tall Grass (Kindle Single) by Joe Hill and Stephen King (Scribner) is available on Amazon as a Kindle Single.
The first new Wallander novel for a decade, and the final installment in the bestselling series from the godfather of Swedish crime.
On a winter day in 2008, Håkan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, vanishes during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm. The investigation into his disappearance falls under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police. It has nothing to do with Wallander—officially. But von Enke is his daughter’s future father-in-law. And so, with his inimitable disregard for normal procedure, Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility, making promises he won’t keep, telling lies when it suits him—and getting results. But the results hint at elaborate Cold War espionage activities that seem inextricably confounding, even to Wallander, who, in any case, is troubled in more personal ways as well. Negligent of his health, he’s become convinced that, having turned sixty, he is on the threshold of senility. Desperate to live up to the hope that a new granddaughter represents, he is continually haunted by his past. And looking toward the future with profound uncertainty, he will have no choice but to come face-to-face with his most intractable adversary: himself.
About the Author
Internationally bestselling novelist and playwright HENNING MANKELL has received the German Tolerance Prize and the U.K.’s Golden Dagger Award and has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize three times. His Kurt Wallander mysteries have been published in thirty-three countries and consistently top the bestseller lists in Europe.
* Note, the book cover I embedded here is from the UK edition – I just like it better than the US cover
Dang, there’s a part of me that really wishes I didn’t read The Troubled Man - the final installment in Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander Mystery series. Reading this beook just made me feel so depressed afterwards – especially with the way things ended for Kurt [sob]! I won’t spoil details, but man, that was cruel… Yeah, I’ve definitely gone a long way from initially disliking Kurt immensely in the first book to now being brokenhearted by his ultimate fate in this final book.
So, obviously The Troubled Man really packed an emotional wallop for me (see emoticon above)… but I have to admit that the mystery per se wasn’t as good as in Henning Mankell’s previous Kurt installments. Maybe it’s because I just don’t care much for Cold War espionage mysteries, but I found this case involving the disappearance of an old man, sleeper spies, and mysterious foreign submarines back in the 1980s just – well – boring. And I didn’t even have the emotional satisfaction of the case being wrapped up definitively since nobody even knew that Kurt had solved the mystery in the end.
I wanted Kurt to have an exciting and meaty mystery for a send-off, but I didn’t get that here.
Warning for fans, the whole atmosphere in this book is really extra mournful and depressing. Mankell made me feel like being aged 60 (Kurt’s age here) is more like 80 what with the preoccupation with death, regrets and goodbyes that happen throughout the book (Example, people from Kurt’s past resurface only to say goodbye like a dying Baiba, an alcoholic Mona, etc.) Didn’t Mankell get the memo that 60 is the new 40 nowadays? (Exhibit 1: Liam Neeson)
The Troubled Man (Kurt Wallander Mysteries) by Henning Mankell is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition, Paperback edition and Audible Audio Edition. * Also available in Amazon UK
Before Number Four, there were One, Two, and Three. Until now we’ve only known that the Mogadorians caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. But all of that is about to change. . . .
In I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies, you’ll learn the true story behind these ill-fated members of the Garde. Before they were murdered by the Mogadorians, before Number Four was next, they were all just kids on an alien planet called Earth—discovering their powers, trying to stay hidden, and running for their lives.
About the Author:
Pittacus Lore is Lorien’s ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for the war that will decide Earth’s fate. His whereabouts are unknown.
I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies by Pittacus Lore is the latest released prequel novella in the YA SciFi/action series I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) . Now I’ve been pretty critical before, but this one I really enjoyed (and can actually recommend). I still think it’s overpriced at $3.99 (given how short it is), but if you are a fan of the series, I think this one may be required reading (unless an abbreviated version appears in the next book The Rise of Nine). Unlike the previous prequels, The Fallen Legacies actually offers new information and insight on not only the Loric Garde, but their mortal enemies, the Mogadorians (who have apparently been secretly living the high life on Earth all along without anyone noticing them).
Given how the previous prequels (Six’s Legacy and Nine’s Legacy) were written, I had expected this one to also be a straightforward first person POV retelling of the (extremely short) life stories of Numbers One, Two and Three – like an anthology of three short stories maybe. Thankfully, whoever’s ghost writing this latest installment got a little creative.
The Fallen Legacies is narrated instead by… a teenage Mogadorian named Adamus Sutekh (nickname: Adam) who’s a true born son of one of the Mogadorian generals out hunting for the Garde. I thought it was really refreshing to get a different perspective from the I Am Number Four universe, and I liked the peek into Mogadorian life that Adam provides us. Short version – if you’re a sensitive kind of guy, it really sucks to grow up Mogadorian.
We first meet Adam as an obnoxiously smug thirteen-year-old (but then, who wouldn’t be, given the way he was brainwashed – er, reared), but during an experiment in mind-melding, young Adam is unexpectedly forced into reliving the memories of Number One. This experience changes Adam’s worldview drastically, and he is a very different guy at the end – when the novella abruptly (and frustratingly) ends on a cliffhanger.
Adam is the first boy character from the I Am Number Four series who I found to be genuinely likeable and admirable. And I really, really hope that he plays a big part in the soon to be released full length novel The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies) out August 21.
I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: The Fallen Legacies by Pittacus Lore is available on Amazon as a Kindle Edition ($3.99).
You can also get the ebook at the Apple iBookstore.
Screenwriter of Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows‘ and bestselling author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith rewrites history to retell the truly remarkable story of the Nativity’s ‘Three Wise Men’…
It’s one of the most iconic vignettes in history: three men on camels, arriving at a manger, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. An impossibly bright star is suspended in the vast desert sky above. It’s a moment of serenity and grace. A holy night…
But what do we really know about the Three Kings of the Nativity? The Bible says little about this enigmatic trio. Not even their names are mentioned. The historical record is vague at best. How do we know that they were three kings from the East? What if they were petty, murderous thieves – led by a mercurial individual called Balthazar – on the run, escaping through Judea under cover of night who stumble upon the famous manger, its newborn child and his earthly parents?
Here, the brilliant and slightly warped mind behind Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes a little mystery, plays fast and loose with a bit of history to weave an epic tale. It’s an adventure that will see these thieves fight the last magical creatures of the Old Testament, cross paths with historical figures such as Pontius Pilate and John the Baptist, and deliver the family – as the Bible tells us – to the safety of Egypt. Indeed, this may just be the greatest story never told…
Maybe it was the cartoonish book cover – but for whatever reason, I expected Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith to be a satire (something like Pratchett & Gaiman’s funny take on the Book of Revelations with Good Omens). On thinking it over, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by how Serious Business Unholy Night is. I’d read his previous book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter after all (which had also surprised me by it’s overall serious tone).
This time around, Seth Grahame-Smith applies his unique revisionist twist on that most sacred (and beloved) of biblical stories – the Christmas Story itself. From the birth of Christ, the coming of the Three Wise Men, Herod’s slaughter of innocent babies, Mary, Joseph & Jesus’ escape into Egypt… it’s all there, but with a horror twist. Instead of Wise Men, the trio are criminal thieves and murderers, and far from being a reverential recounting of the familiar story, be sure to expect an extra heavy dose of blood, gore, sex, torture, graphic violence, and yes, even undead rising from their graves. Note: If that short description has already offended you to your core, don’t pick up the book! You will hate it, call it blasphemous and depraved. Promise.
As for me, I confess that I did have some qualms while reading – I wasn’t so sure that I was completely okay with this ultra-violent mayhem way of retelling the Christmas Story. There’s parts that were really hard for me to read through (for example: the descriptions of the violent murders of children and babies). I could also have happily gone without any of the additional (and IMO unnecessary) chapters offering the POV’s of King Herod (why did we need to witness him raping a child for example?) or Pontius Pilate or a fictional evil/dark Magi who added confusing subplots to the story.
So, what did I like from Unholy Night? I actually liked Grahame-Smith’s twist of turning the Wise Men into fugitive criminals who go against their *better* nature and risk themselves to save Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The best was the character of Balthazar who undergoes a dramatic personal journey (his personal obsession with revenge vs letting go and living his life) that I think many can identify with. I ended up liking Balthazar a whole lot, and wished that the whole story had been told entirely from Balthazar’s POV. To be honest, the only reason I read to the end was because I wanted to find out what happened to him.